Searches for missing ND people continue

WILLISTON – A private group is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide credible information leading to the whereabouts of missing Williston man Roger Shelton, 62.

Shelton vanished sometime on Jan. 5, leaving behind all of his vehicles and other material possessions, such as his wallet and phone at his home, according to law enforcement. Despite organized searches involving volunteers from the public along with Williston and Williams County law enforcement personnel, Shelton’s whereabouts are still unknown.

The last verified sighting of Shelton, according to the Williams County Sheriff, occurred on Jan. 5 at the Black Gold Casino, located on the border of Montana and North Dakota. Williams County Deputy Daniel Ward said Shelton is thought to have then traveled home to his residence on the west side of Williston. Ward encouraged the public to share any leads and said further analysis was being done on Shelton’s phone records, bank accounts and vehicles.

Shelton’s name now joins the growing list of active missing persons cases in North Dakota, which currently contains 83 people. Twenty-six of the 83 cases tracked in the database are missing children, and a further 27 are missing indigenous persons. Though, more recent cases such as Shelton and a missing Bismarck man, Lloyd Liken, have not yet been officially added to the list.

Liken, 81,didn’t return home after leaving the 4400 block of Turnbow Lane in Bismarck on Nov. 16. Despite weeks of organized searching by volunteers and authorities by land and air, no sign of Liken has been found since his vehicle was sighted by a McLean County Sheriff’s deputy on U.S. Highway 83.

Roger Shelton

A Jan. 10 social media post made by Liken’s daughter, Lisa Liken Monroe, and her husband, Chad Monroe, indicated that after more than 16,000 miles of roads and section lines had been surveyed, the search had entered a new phase. Search organizers Badlands Search and Rescue would share the next day that recent weather had put a pause on further organized searching but encouraged the public to keep an eye out for Liken and his vehicle.

“There are others that are missing also. Keep an eye peeled for them too. Thank you all for your continued prayers, thoughts, and shares,” the Monroe’s post concluded, “We will find him one way or another. Your help is very much appreciated.”

There are 14 cases in the database from the communities and counties in the northwestern corner of the state. Minot has five missing persons cases listed in the database, all missing women, but the Minot Police Department was able to confirm that four of the five listed have since been located. The last remaining entry in the database from Minot is Malaak Heshem Mustafa, 20, who was last seen on March 7, 2022. The investigator handling Mustafa’s case believes she does not wish to be found.

Burke and Mountrail counties are both still seeking information on the whereabouts of Shannon Gandrud, who was last seen on Jan. 11, 2014, and Carl Len Hayden, 51, who went missing on July 29, 2023.

Two of the oldest cases on the list are being investigated by the Williston Police Department. The first is Francis Joseph Houle, 90, who was last sighted in October of 1979. The second is Barbra Cotton, who has been missing since April 11, 1981. Cotton was 15 years old when she vanished while walking the five blocks home that evening. The long cold case has attracted a great deal of attention and speculation from state true crime podcasters and internet theorists in recent years.

Lloyd Liken

More recent disappearances from Williston include transient oil field worker Joe Christopher Lee, current age 55, who was last seen on June 1, 2013, and Brenda Sue Murdock, who hasn’t been seen since July 1, 2015.

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